My Cinderella story went viral


In their final year of school, teenagers have one night to let loose and celebrate. But while Lydia Lebepe’s peers organised dresses and dates for their Matric dance, her hopes for her own special night diminished. Her mother’s meagre salary and father’s illness meant that money was scarce. Even with the numerous part-time jobs she took on while studying, Lebepe’s chances of attending were slim. Not wanting to deny her child what she couldn’t afford, Lebepe’s mother wrote to 947 Breakfast Club asking for assistance as a birthday gift to her daughter.

On her eighteenth birthday, Lebepe found out that she would be going to her Matric dance in style. Upon hearing of the schoolgirl’s dedication to school and her family, people across the country came together to give the exceptional student a night she never would have dreamed possible. Like Cinderella before the ball, Lebepe was transformed with makeup, hair and spa treatments. A gold sequined dress from Minnie Dlamini complemented her sparkling personality. It was the start of an amazing experience for Lebepe, as video of her unbridled joy when she heard the news went viral. Her mother was overwhelmed at the reaction to her humble request. “South African people showed us love. It’s so real and we are so thankful,” she says.

After 18 years of giving her best to her academics, Lebepe is on her way to greater things. “Have hope in your heart – just believe anything is possible,” she says. Beyond the dazzling dance, she was also given funding to further her studies. In this local fairytale, there was no Fairy Godmother. Just a South African community coming together to celebrate a hardworking student who deserved this and so much more.